A pre-Olympic qualifier, a pair of national championships and the World Cup B will be among the top skiing events coming to Steamboat Springs next winter.
"We have some very big events planned for early next winter," said Rick DeVos, executive director of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. "It's looking like another busy winter in Steamboat."
The first major international event will arrive in Steamboat Springs the first week of De----cember, when Ski Town USA hosts the Nordic Combined World Cup B on Dec. 10 and 11.
Most of the athletes vying for Olympic positions will be on the World Cup A circuit, but the World Cup B event should provide local supporters with a feel for the action that will take place in Torino, Italy, in February.
The World Cup B is the place for up-and-coming stars, and veterans recovering from injury or slumps, to shape the skills they need to earn an Olympic invitation.
Olympic Invitations also will be on the minds of the top American freestyle skiers when they come to Steamboat Springs in late December.
DeVos said negotiations to bring the U.S. Ski Team's freestyle Gold Cup to Steamboat Springs are under way and that he hopes Steamboat will host the pre-Olympic qualifier Dec. 30.
If things go well, the top mogul and aerial skiers will come here for one last chance to earn a guaranteed spot on the Olympic team.
Four years ago, Travis Mayer stamped his invitation to Salt Lake City by winning the Gold Cup event in Steamboat. He went on to win the silver medal in moguls.
Skiing fans in Steamboat will get at least one other pre-Olympic treat when Steamboat hosts the U.S. National Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships on Jan 20 to 22.
Skiers like Todd Lodwick, Johnny Spillane, Clint Jones and Alan Alborn will be among the athletes competing for national honors while tuning up for Italy.
DeVos said there are no firm plans, but he also hopes for another huge Olympic sendoff much like the one Steamboat held in 2004 when it sent 16 athletes to Salt Lake City.
Other top events coming to Steamboat in 2006 will include the NCAA National Skiing Championships on March 6 to 11.
Steamboat will also host regional college events Jan. 27 and 28 (Nordic) and Feb. 3 and 4 (Alpine) before the top college ski race of the year.
-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org